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The Naughty Chair

The Naughty Chair

At just two weeks shy of his 3rd birthday, Mini has finally broken in the Naughty Chair.

Before yesterday, Mini had never been in a time out or had to sit on the naughty chair, and only partially because we weren’t sure he was ready to grasp the concept of having to stay in one place for any length of time. Because the truth is that he hadn’t really earned the punishment yet. Everybody thinks their kids are perfect, but truthfully Mini’s a pretty good-natured kid, and is pretty interested in pleasing us.

Most of the time.

We made the mistake of letting him watch this Bionicle Lego movie thing the other day, and as it turns out there’s a lot of hitting in it. I think that might have been where we first went wrong. Because then, Mini runs over and hits me, and I’ll say, “Mini, you do NOT HIT. That’s so bad.” And then he’ll kiss me, right where he hit me. But then, he’ll do it again a few minutes later.

So, it’s time for consequences, apparently.

This afternoon he looked at me and slammed his hand down on my computer keyboard. He knows not to touch the computer, but I said, “Do NOT. TOUCH. THE. COMPUTER,” just for emphasis.

He slammed both hands down on the computer keyboard.

“No, Mama . . .”
“I don — “

So I make him sit there for a minute and then go over why he’s there, make him tell me what he did wrong, agree to not do it again. Then I ask for a hug and all that. You know, just like I learned from Supernanny.

But the best part is, after all this, Mini sits back down in The Naughty Chair, of his own accord.

“Buddy, you don’t have to sit in the Naughty Chair anymore. You’re done.”
“No, Mama, I not sitting in the Naughty Chair.”
“No, Buddy, you don’t have to, you already did it,”
“No, Mama, this is not the Naughty Chair.”
“What are you talking about, it’s not the Naughty Chair?”
“It’s NOT the Naughty Chair. It’s MY chair.”
“It’s your Naughty Chair, maybe.”
“No. It’s just my chair, Mama.”

He’s already learned how to neutralize punishment by reclaiming the terms of his oppressor. Can you imagine what it’s going to be like when he’s negotiating for time with the car?

Comments (8)

  1. Apr 7, 2010

    Ha! Hilarious, clever and infuriating all at once. This is exactly why I have never been brave enough to try “time-outs.” I am sure that it would only cause more strife! Good luck with three, we are there on the 12th and I hear it can be way worse than two 🙁

  2. Apr 7, 2010

    I think they go through various rounds of testing limits. My 4.5 year old went through that when she was almost three, and she’s doing it again now. It’s exhausting and requires copious amounts of Diet Coke (for me, not her).

    On that last bit…you can totally see him building a masthead with a troll doll someday, y’know?

  3. Apr 7, 2010

    I just yelled at Tink this morning for probably only the third time in her life. She also hasn’t required much punishment so far, but that makes me nervous, like perhaps she’s saving it all for her teen years when I’ll be that much older, more feeble and less likely to remember that I in fact had said no to the sleepover at a friend’s house wherein the parents are out of town and all the friend’s older brother’s quadmates would be visiting for the weekend. Anyway, I know yelling is not an effective method of discipline, but it was a gut reaction to a really nasty habit she’s developed, that of hissing at me and showing her teeth like she’s some sort of venomous snake-pitbull hybrid. WTF, kid? It’s somehow related to her love of superheroes/bad guys/Star Wars but it was time I dropped the hammer on that behavior.

    After I yelled, she instantly changed into a scared preschooler fighting back hot wet tears and wondering who the yelly lady is. Mini reclaiming the Naughty Chair might be a way to defend himself against Scary Mama.

  4. Apr 7, 2010

    You are SO in trouble.

  5. Apr 7, 2010

    I’m with you there Alexis. We figure they only call it The Terrible Two because it sounds better than The Terrible Threes. Right now most of our toddler issues stem from frustration at not being perfect in all things. When block castles fall, the world ends. Perhaps I should have O read your list from Monday.

    You know, initially I read that he had ‘broken’ The Naughty Chair rather than ‘broken in.’ I guess it works both ways though. Good luck with three. We are not far behind you.

  6. Apr 7, 2010

    Priceless. Though I’m glad my kids don’t read your blog.

  7. Apr 7, 2010

    three sucked. except for us, it sucked, and then a few years later it sucked again, and now it currently sucks.

    and yep, that’s me, bringing hope everywhere i go.

  8. Apr 7, 2010

    It’s almost scary how disarming kids can be some times.

    It’ll be easier when he’s a teenager though – he won’t be quite so cute!

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